Red Sox stars’ portraits that graced minor league stadium step up to the plate at Bruneau

Detail of monumental portrait of Red Sox player Carlton Fisk, which hung in McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Bruneau & Co.

CRANSTON, R.I. –  A total of 42 monumental portraits of Red Sox players that once graced a minor league Red Sox affiliate team’s stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island will come to auction at Bruneau & Co. on Monday, March 18 as part of its Collection of Collections Auction. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

In 1977, Ben Mondor, then the owner of McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, home of the Red Sox minor league team the Pawtucket Red Sox (aka the PawSox), hit upon the idea of decorating the venue with oversize images of team heroes. He commissioned Rhode Island School of Design student Carol ‘Teyo’ Heuser to paint mammoth portraits of Red Sox players directly on the concourse walls. In 1990, the images were replaced by eight-by-four-foot paintings, most of which will appear in the auction. Renovation work prompted the removal of the portraits in 1999, and they were replaced with digital replicas that were displayed alongside additional digital photos. At some point after the paintings were taken down, they were sold to the consigner. (It is commonly believed that 42 portraits were made because the stadium opened in 1942, but there were actually 45; the other three were auctioned off to Red Sox players.)

Fans have fond memories of the PawSox and McCoy Stadium, though both are gone. The minor league franchise was relocated to Worcester, Massachusetts in 2021, and the defunct stadium is due to be demolished in 2024 to make way for a new high school. In October 2023, Andy Tuetken, a local high school history teacher who grew up attending games at the stadium, released a book on the paintings titled Murals of McCoy. He self-published it to ensure that the proceeds would benefit youth baseball in Pawtucket.

The five Red Sox portraits that have each received the highest estimates, at $2,000-$3,000, are the five best-known Red Sox players depicted. Three of the five were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York: Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, and Carlton ‘Pudge’ Fisk, who famously waved his arms to coax the ball he just hit to fall fair and score a home run to secure a walk-off victory in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Fred Lynn, another hero of the 1975 World Series, which the Red Sox ultimately lost, had a playing career that was too short to earn his way in to Cooperstown, while allegations of steroid use convinced enough Hall of Fame voters to deny Roger Clemens entry on the standard ballot. His eligibility expired in 2022.

Other portraits depict Red Sox fan favorites such as Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn, Dennis Ray ‘Oil-Can’ Boyd, and Mike Greenwell, all of which are individually estimated at $1,000-$2,000 apiece.